U.S. House of Representatives Takes Up mHealth for the Homeless

Introduced this month to the 113th U.S. Congress is H.R. 29 – the Mobile Medical Homeless Health Improvement Act of 2013.

Behind the proposed bill is Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez  (D-NY), who hopes the effort will lead to partnerships capable of improving access of homeless individuals to medical services.

According to details presented in the pending legislation, the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night increased by 1.1 percent from 643,067 in January 2009 to 649,917 in January 2010. California, New York, and Florida accounted for 40 percent of the total homeless population.

Although the term ‘mobile medical health care service’ refers to any health care related service provided in a moveable vehicle or a non-permanent clinic, mobile technologies and devices to monitor or assess the well-being of a homeless patient would likely be used as part of this comprehensive effort.

Mobile medical health care services can effectively reach homeless populations and provide primary care, screenings, dental care, medications, behavioral health care, immunizations, lab tests, case management, benefits assistance and assessments, and triage.

Although the proposal is admirable according to its proponents, others believe that such an effort could create added financial burdens on a system already struggling to keep its debt under control.

Do you believe that H.R. 29 should be passed into law? Please review the proposed legislation in full here and weigh in with a thought or comment below.

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